Craft beers come in a wide variety of styles, and each style has managed to find its audience. With so many different styles to chose from though, IPA still remains the most popular style of craft beer by far and the New England style juicy/hazy IPA has taken the spotlight over the past couple of years, outselling all other sub-styles of IPA by a wide margin.
Although the juicy/hazy sub-style of IPA was only officially recognized by the Brewer’s Association in March of 2018, by the time the Great American Beer Festival rolled around in September, the “Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale,” “Juicy or Hazy IPA” and “Juicy or Hazy Double IPA” dominated GABF entries. Juicy/Hazy Pale Ales and IPAs made up 706 entries (Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale: 131. Juicy or Hazy IPA: 414. Juicy or Hazy Double IPA: 161.) compared with 331 entries for the more traditional American-Style IPA.
Many breweries have resisted jumping into what’s come to be known as the haze craze and, in fact, many breweries out there still refuse to make a hazy IPA. Others, like Firestone Walker Brewing Company, have simply been busy with other projects (like their experimental Luponic Distorion series and their Leo v. Ursus series). However, now they’re ready and the time has come. After a year of experimentation and development, say hello to Firestone Walker’s Mind Haze hazy IPA.
Even though we have a large number of breweries right here in Seattle, many of us often take trips away from the city to explore breweries farther away or perhaps to visit some favorites we’ve found on previous craft beer excursions.
One popular destination for those leaving Seattle on one of these excursions is the city of Bellingham, WA. I myself am a big fan of many Bellingham breweries including: Wander, Kulshan, Chuckanut, Structures and, of course, Aslan. Well, if Aslan Brewing Company is on your list of favorite Bellingham breweries, then I’ve got some great news. This Summer, Aslan will open a location in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
As they were celebrating their 26th Anniversary back in 2015, Seattle’s iconic Pike Brewing Company also announced that they were expanding their ownership to include three longtime employees: Drew Gillespie, Vice President Operations; Patti Baker, Vice President Controller; and Gary Marx, Executive Chef. Pike founders Charles and Rose Ann Finkel called this ‘selling in‘ – a direct contrast to all the breweries out there who have been ‘selling out’ to beer giants like AB/InBev.
At the time, Drew Gillespie had been with Pike for over 17 years and, along with Patti & Gary, this was the Finkel’s way of showing how much they valued their loyal, long-time employees. It was an amazing gesture that further endeared the Finkels to those of us in the craft beer community who already love them.
Now in their 29th year, Pike is ready to make another big announcement. As of today, December 19th, 2018 (which also marks his 20th Anniversary with Pike), Co-Owner Drew Gillespie has been promoted to President of Pike Brewing Company. Congratulations, Drew!
Are you still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone? How about Valentine’s Day? Have you thought about that yet? Yeah, I know. It’s still two months away but hear me out. What if you could kill 2 birds with one stone? Does your significant other enjoy craft beer? How about wine? How about spirits? How about small bites from top local restaurants? How about chocolate!? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then tickets to Pike Brewing Company‘s annual Chocofest might be just the gift you’ve been searching for.
Chcofest seems to grow bigger each year and is Pike’s most popular annual event. That’s why, in order to accommodate the more than 900 expected attendees, this year’s Chocofest will encompass all three levels of Pike including the brewery, the Pike Pub and Tankard & Tun.
Sierra Nevada received an amazing response to their call. Over 1400 breweries nationwide brewed Resilience IPA and now, this coming Thursday, December 20th, all of those participating breweries will be hosting a Nationwide ‘Resilience Night’ for Camp Fire relief.
Are you a homebrewer? Do you think you’ve gotten pretty good at it? Do you think your beers are good enough to be brewed on a large scale, canned and sold to the craft beer masses here in Seattle? Then Ruben’s Brews has the contest for you. Returning for the third straight year, Reuben’s Brews presents: “Hop Idol”.
It’s time to refine your best hoppy recipes and hone your brewing techniques so you can put your best brew(s) forward. Don’t wait too long to start either, because the cutoff date for entries is February 27, 2019. It all comes down to you and your brew, because (Best Ryan Seacrest impersonaltion) THIS………. is Hop Idol!
Do you know how you’re planning to spend New Year’s Eve this year? I usually spend mine at home with some craft beers from my cellar, my family and my dogs – who really don’t like the fireworks we always seem to get in our neighborhood. If you’re fortunate to not have anxiety-riddled doggies to babysit or if you haven’t made plans yet and are looking for some ideas (and if you’ll be down in Bend, OR), Worthy Brewing Company has an event you might be interested in.
On New Year’s Eve this year, Worthy Brewing is hosting a 5-course beer (or wine) pairing dinner, featuring a cocktail hour before dinner, live music throughout the whole evening, dancing after dinner and a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight.
The fires this year in California have been devastating – particularly the one known as the Camp Fire. Entire communities have disappeared and thousands have been displaced. It is also the deadliest wildfire in California state history, with the death toll reaching at least 81 people – and that number is expected to rise as the number of missing/unaccounted for people is still over 870 people.
Fortunately, I don’t know anyone directly affected by the fire(s) (though I do have relatives in Chico – where it got pretty close!), but I know a few people who have family and/or friends who have lost their homes. It’s a heartbreaking situation, but Sierra Nevada Brewing Company wants to help.
Breakside Brewery out of Portland Oregon has a pretty diverse portfolio. I’ve had quite a few of their beers over the years; everything from their IPAs to their Stouts and Sours and, for the most part, they’ve been pretty solid.
More recently, Breakside has been working to expand their barrel-aged Sour program. Perhaps you’ve had their In the City of Flowers or their popular Qualia (one of my favorites of the series). Now, as 2018 draws to a close, Breakside is preparing to release Quiescence – a blend of 13 casks of wood-aged sour beer aged for 12 months in Archery Summit Pinot Noir barrels.
The story of Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is one I’ve been following for a long time. I can still remember when the taproom had just a few stools and couldn’t hold more than a few people. Today, Two Beers Brewing Company – along with their sister companies, Seattle Cider Company and Sound Seltzer Company – boasts a huge, inviting taproom with 24 taps of beer, cider and seltzer (plus a cider slushie machine), pub games (billiards, foosball, darts, shuffleboard, etc.), a beautiful patio and a food service window run by the folks from Bread And Circuses.
There was some concern in the local craft beer community when, back in 2016, Two Beers Brewing Company and Seattle Cider Company were acquired by the Agrial Group, a leading French agri-business cooperative. Since that acquisition, however, I haven’t noticed any drop in the quality of their products, and they’ve even started expanding their portfolio – releasing lots of new beers this year including what I think may have been their best IPA yet, What A Time To Be Alive hazy fresh hop IPA. Now Two Beers is prepared to celebrate their 11th Anniversary with another new release: This Goes to 11 Birthday Cake IPA.